Panel discussion held on International Women’s Day

On 8 March 2019, the Study Hall Educational Foundation organized a panel discussion on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The topic of this discussion was ‘Why the status of women in India is not a major election agenda’. This was held as part of annual India’s Daughters’ Campaign that Study Hall Educational Foundation conducts.
On this occasion, the guest Juhi Singh, spokesperson, Samajwadi Party, Rakesh Tripathi, spokesperson, Bhartiya Janta Party, Sadaf Jafar, spokesperson and Farah, member of Sheroes Hangout cafe were present and they discussed the topic.

The program started with the introduction of our esteemed guests. The discussion started with a very strong question asked by a Prerna Girls School student, Sapna Bharti. She asked, “I am a first-time voter. I want to ask why should I vote for a political party which does not have gender equality as a major issue on their manifesto?” The students continued to ask questions and our guests answered them.

In this discussion, Sadaf Jafar, spokesperson, Congress, said, “We must rise beyond political differences and collectively fight against structural violence that women face.” She also advised students, to read the manifesto of the party before voting and give the vote to a party which they think will help to build a better nation.

Juhi Singh, spokesperson, Samajwadi Party said, “We make event-based political agenda and we accept that. We will try and work on it. I see confident young women here who are capable of becoming strong political leaders in the future and I hope we will have more participation of women in politics in the future”.

Rakesh Tripathi, spokesperson, Bhartiya Janta Party, said, “women should stop believing they are weak and raise voice against the small issues they face, then only we can change the society”.

On this occasion, the parents of Prerna Girls School were also invited. For the last six years, the Aarohini Initiative organizes yearly India’s Daughters’ campaign that focuses on gender empowerment issues with the goal of raising awareness in the community about gender discrimination.

The program was concluded with the felicitation of the mothers of Prerna Girls School students and vote of thanks.


Prerna girls inspire Obamas, invited to speak at Chicago summit

Obama Foundation and the Global Girls Alliance joined hands with the Study Hall Educational Foundation Educational Foundation to make a short film on Laxmi Nishad who is an alumna of the Prerna Gilrs School. Kiran Sahu who is currently a student of the Prerna Girls School has played the role of Laxmi in the film shared earlier. Laxmi, Kiran, and Dr. Urvashi Sahni were invited to Chicago to speak at the Obama Foundation Summit. Here is a glimpse of them on stage.

The Obama Foundation Global Girls Alliance


The Study Hall carnival becomes a big hit

“The best way to remove negativity is to laugh and be joyous” – David Icke
Study Hall School seemed to live by this when they organized the fete on the 17th of November, 2018. The laughter, the fun, and the positivity is what study hall continues to aim for every year.
It had enthralling games, uplifting music, and exciting prizes. And if that wasn’t enough, it had a DJ with groovy music that you couldn’t help but dance along to too. All of this inside the school premises.
The students with the help and guidance of their teachers set up engaging stalls of games that people waited eagerly to try their hand at and eat the delectable treats set up to their fill.
We had stalls for everyone. Whether you’re a child or an adult, everyone left with something or the other.
But the games and food were not all that we had. We had makeup and shops set up too. You could pick out of the various designs that we had to get it tattooed on your body, have amazing nail art done and even shop for handmade, well-crafted jewelry.
Our school teaches us to respect and help those in need. The school’s foundation principles include charity and respect for those in need and we ensure that these principles are upheld by every student.
The Study Hall Educational foundation runs Prerna Girls School, where girls from underprivileged sections of society are imparted free of cost education. This has changed the lives of hundreds of young girls and has enabled them to stand on their own feet and paint the world and the skies with colours of freedom, change and self-respect.
All money collected from this joyous event goes to this noble cause. It is used to help better the lives of those who are disrespected and considered inferior because of being economically and socially backward.
We strive to reduce and end the disparity amongst the people of this world.
The fête is a means of bringing the people together for a fun time and bring smiles on the their faces, and Study Hall continues to do that without fail each year.

Study Hall College launched in a gala event

The Study Hall Educational Foundation formally launched the Study Hall College which is affiliated to the Lucknow University and currently has bachelors courses running in business administration, commerce, journalism and mass communication and computer application.

Minister of Excise and Prohibition Shri Jai Pratap Singh and former Vice-Chancellor of Lucknow University Shri GB Pattanaik graced the occasion with their presence. Powerful personal stories of change narrated by college students and exemplary dance and drama performances were the highlights of the gala event.

Chief guest Shri GB Pattanaik said that experience sharing by the students of the college was the most moving part of the event. He added that colleges are not just places that give out degrees but institutions that shape individuals to change the society. He candidly mentioned that the Study Hall College is 35 km from the center of Lucknow and said that it could be 100 km away as it is the far-flung like Pipersand that need quality higher education institutions like the Study Hall College.

The founder and CEO of the Study Hall Educational Foundation Dr Urvashi Sahni shared the journey of the college and how she envisions it becoming a beacon of quality education.

On this occasion, Principle of the college Dr. Sudhish Chandra said, “Education is a basic necessity after food shelter and clothing. In fact, education is to be regarded as an investment of the highest order which in time to come become an asset.”
Adding to his point, the director of the college said education is not just about the degree, its not just a tool for the change, its a change itself which establishes the social dynamics of the human race.
The programme concluded with the speech of the chief guest and national anthem.
on this occasion the Guest of Honour, Shri Jai Pratap Singh said, “I loved the performances today, I am glad Study Hall Educational Foundation is still following the culture in this modernization. Study Hall has brought a revolution in education”,
The programme concluded with the national anthem.
The programme started with Invocation dance, Performed by The Study hall College Girls : Muskaan Mishra (BJMC 3rd semester), Akanksha Kushwaha (B. Com 3rd year), Laxmi (BJMC 1st Semester), Surbhi (BJMC 1st Semester), Sushma (B.Com 2nd year). Ceremony continued  with a short play named The New Car  performed by Sneha Reji -(BBA 1st semester) Adamya -( BBA 1st semester) Ashu Yadav (BJMC 1st semester), Anjali (BJMC 3rd semester), Anurag ( BJMC 1st semester), Pradeep (BJMC 3rd semester), Sahitya (BJMC 1st semester), Simran (BBA 1st semester). Later, Students from Vidyasthali performed a theme dance. The last performance was a song by Prerna girls and college girls.

Dr. Urvashi Sahni felicitated by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Twelve social entrepreneurs at the helm of 11 organizations from around the world have been recognized by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship as the 2018 Social Entrepreneurs of the Year in New York. The Schwab Foundation recognizes 12 individuals from 11 organizations for their innovative approaches and potential for global impact

Girls’ education, sexual violence, prison reform, financial inclusion, and disaster relief are issues where the 2018 awardees have developed cost-effective, scalable services.

Dr. Urvashi Sahni, Study Hall Educational Foundation (SHEF), India is one of the winners of the 2018 Social Entrepreneurs of the Year Award.  She runs the Study Hall Educational Foundation where organization runs a network of nine types of schools and programmes, catering to girls, disabled children, rural youth and children outside the formal school system. To date, the foundation has worked with more than 900 government schools and trained 5,000 government teachers, reaching an estimated 500,000 children.

Talking about the award Dr. Sahni said, “I am very grateful to the Schwab Foundation for the recognition.” 

Social Entrepreneurs leverage the power of market forces and business principles to solve social problems in ways that benefit the marginalized and the poor,” said Hilde Schwab, Chairperson, and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.  Adding to the point Schwab said, “Their work is often carried out in areas where government and the private sector are unable to achieve meaningful outcomes and involves considerable creativity coupled with pragmatism.”

The 11 organizations and 12 individuals honored in 2018 become part of the broader Schwab Foundation community of 350 outstanding social entrepreneurs from around the world. The work of the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs is integrated into the World Economic Forum’s events and initiatives aimed at scaling-up market-based solutions for global challenges.

Along with Dr. Urvashi Sahni, 11 other Social entrepreneurs from around the world has been recognized and facilitated. Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan, Horn of Africa Development Initiative(HODI Kenya, Valdeci Ferreira, The Brazilian Fraternity of Assistance to Convicts (FBAC) Brazil/Latin America, Bas van Abel, Fairphone, Netherlands, Bruktawit Tigabu, Whiz kids workshop from Ethiopia, Sasha Chanoff and Amy Slaughter, RefugePoint, Africa/Middle East,  Mike Quinn, Zoona, Zambia/Malawi, Zack Rosenburg, SBP, USA,  Tulin Akin, Tabit, Turkey,  David Yeung, Green Monday from Hongkong, Muhammad Amjad Saqib, Akhuwat, Pakistan/Uganda/Kenya. Several awardees use the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to provide better outcomes at lower cost. 

Dr. Urvashi Sahni felicitated by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship



Brookings: Teaching boys to examine gender in patriarchal societies

One group of global experts ranks India as the most dangerous country in the world for girls and women. According to the government, crime against women rose by 83 percent from 2007-2016, with four rapes reported every hour. One in three girls is a child bride—the most in the world. The government estimates that “there are 63 million ‘missing’ women in the country because of sex-selective abortion, as well as 21 million unwanted girls.” The situation is serious and needs urgent attention. more…


Developing a New Perspective in Lucknow: Study Hall Educational Foundation

Chelsey was in Lucknow to visit Study Hall Educational Foundation during an international study tour.

During our travels in India, we spent time in Uttar Pradesh (UP) the most populated state in the country, and Uttarakhand located in Northern India. After our homesteads in Dehradun we traveled to Rishikesh, a city up in the foothills of the Himalayas, and the birth place of yoga. In Rishikesh we saw the ashram the Beatles spent a year and a half at in 1968, dipped our toes in the Ganga, the largest and most holy river in India, and learned about spiritualism at a traditional Hindu aarti. Following Rishikesh we took a 12 hour overnight train to Lucknow, where we finally got our first real glimpse into the gender equality issues faced by young girls and women across the country.

Arriving in Lucknow at 10:00 AM most felt grumpy and groggy after enduring a long and bumpy journey, that in typical Indian fashion, was two hours off schedule. After a quick breakfast, dropping our bags at our hotel and wishing we had time for a nap, we got on the bus and headed to the Study Hall School. I was not prepared for the impact this visit would have on me as we stepped into the school yard. As we walked to our meeting room I saw many faces peeping out to catch a look at the strange group of visitors in their school, most were friendly and waving, and a few had shy smiles. We were led into a large room given a delicious lunch and tea and began to learn all about the Study Hall Educational Foundation (SHEF) from our coordinator Anand.

SHEF is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1994 by Urvashi Sahni, with the mission of providing a quality education and building a “universe of care” to empower students, particularly girls, and help them emerge as women with a perception of themselves as equal and capable individuals. SHEF is comprised of several schools including the Study Hall School, Prerna Girls School, Prerna Boys School, Vidyasthali School, and most recently the Study Hall College. In addition to these schools SHEF works with over 900 schools in Northern India through their Digital Study Hall program, and reaches 5,00,000 children living across the country through the use of teacher training and video lessons. SHEF tackles the most difficult problems facing UP today by integrating developing a social and political consciousness into their curriculum.

SHEF operates by using the revenue from the fee-paying students who attend the highly regarded Study Hall School in the morning, to provide free schooling to the Prerna girls and boys in the afternoon. The Prerna schools are for students coming from low socio-economic backgrounds, most of whom work in the mornings and thus are able to attend school in the afternoons. Currently the Prerna schools host 800 and 165 girls and boys respectively. The Prerna Girls School enables girls to take a feminist stance in their lives by integrating Dr. Sahni’s feminist pedagogy into their daily studies.

During our visit we were able to stop into a Prerna girls’ classroom age 16-18, where they were in the middle of a “critical dialogue” where the girls engage in discussion on topics such as equality, gender, health, etc. That day the girls were talking about what a “good” Indian girl looks like, acts like, etc. They asked us questions about what we thought a “good” American girl was like and they were surprised to find that we both face some of the same gender stereotypes. The girls were very curious what other kinds of issues we face in the U.S. including marriage, harassment, and rape. I was completely blown away by the girls’ maturity, confidence, and passion on these topics.

My admiration for the Prerna Girls and their determination to use their voice only grew when we came back to Study Hall the next day and met with students from Prerna, Study Hall, and Vidyasthali-a rural school outside of Lucknow all in one room. Four Prerna girls preformed a beautiful poem and dance in Hindi and English about girls never really having a place to call home as they are forced out of their homes as girls to be married off to another family. (see below) That day we interacted with all of the students and broke out into groups to have conversations and perform skits for everyone on the topic of equality. Each group had a creative twist on the assignment and addressed issues like gender, economic, and racial inequality.

I was shocked by the Prena girls’ openness to speak on their experiences and humbled by their courage in facing danger when getting to school or even using the toilet at home. Hearing these girls stand up and speak about their fight to avoid forced child marriage at just 15 put my life and my privilege into perspective. I left Study Hall School with not only a new point of view, but also with admiration for the resiliency and hope the students displayed.

In Search of a Home
Written by Prerna and Vidyasthali high school students
From birth to the day we die
We wander this earth in fright
Yet we find no home in sight.
My first world was a pitch black veil
Where I was overcome by a mysterious fear.
But I took comfort in my mother, in her warmth.
Cozy in her womb, my home was here.
As I left this haven, light flooded my eyes
I awaited my new home with utter delight
But I was left with just one thought
Is this new home what I once sought?
From mother’s embrace to father’s I pass
As she says “We are blessed by the gods.”
But as I looked into the faces of others
An unsettling gloom was quickly uncovered.
It wasn’t just a home, but also my playground
Every wall a mural, every rag was a crown.
The outside world called to me,
But inside I remained.
“Outside is not safe for girls,”
I was told everyday.
I am not truly theirs to keep,
So they must keep me safe.
But not to worry, they said,
That I’ll find me my home one day.
My illusions were shattered
and in corners I would weep
As my drunk father ravaged Mother
And threatened her with the street!

And in these moments I wondered,
“How dare he claim this house his own?
When really it is Mother
Who makes this house our home.”
The years went by, I turned sixteen.
Able, now, to understand my plight.
What I once thought was my house to roam
I then knew would never be my home..
Lovely it was, my wedding gown
Ceremonious vanity unmatched
A new journey began, as I bid farewell
And to a new home, unknown, I marched
In corners I heard them whispering
“She has finally found her home”
While my father pled, “Be brave!
“Your next journey shall be ‘til the grave.”
I knew he meant that he’d cut our ties.
What I once thought was home, isn’t mine.
He wanted me to brave the sins
Just as my mother stayed silent for him
I no longer knew which was my home.
Where I grew up? where I was thrown?
I wondered, where was my mother’s home?
I knew deep down that she had none.
As I entered this seemingly welcoming house,
A golden cage that wasn’t golden in the end,
I had the chains back on again
My whole being choked, but not a word I said
I was to them a homemaker
With two homes but none
The homes were made
But my life left undone
On God’s good earth, each has their home.
How can it be, that I have none?
In the end I am left, ripped at the seam.
The world has pushed me too far to dream
But, my dream, a home, I shall claim
Where I am at peace and finally safe
A place to finally call my own.
My final destination, my home.

Digital Study Hall’s Moni Kannaujia wins Hindustan Times – Young Society Leader Award

Moni Kannaujia, who leads SHEF’s Content Development team has been chosen as the Young Society Leader at the HT Woman Awards 2018. We would like to thank all our supporters and Hindustan Times.

Ms. Moni Kannaujiya has championed the cause of girls’ education by producing over 1000 quality video lessons which are available free of cost on the internet. She has risen through the ranks and is currently leading Content Production at Study Hall Educational Foundation’s outreach unit. She comes from a low-income family but has beaten the odds to become a role model in her community. 

Since the age of 15, Moni has been working and paying for her education, and has now surpassed her parents to become the highest earner in the family. She graduated from Study Hall Educational Foundation’s Prerna Girls School in the year 2012, earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2015, and is now pursuing her Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication at Lucknow University.

A natural young leader, Moni currently supervises a team of over ten teacher experts and two video production associates. She and her team produce videos lessons on quality pedagogy for under resourced classrooms. They also record critical dialogues between students and teachers that are part of SHEF’s feminist curriculum; these videos are used to strengthen the Aarohini girls’ education and empowerment program in more than 700 government schools in the state, promoting a greater understanding of gender and patriarchy in these communities. Additionally, Moni manages a YouTube channel for these video lessons that has over 21,000 subscribers and 3 million views.

Moni was an integral part of a study for ‘Mapping Vulnerability of Adolescent Girls in Uttar Pradesh,’ commissioned by Unicef. She is also a Woman Power Angel, designated as civil police to fight and report crimes against women by the Uttar Pradesh state government.

Indian’s Daughter Campaign 2018: Unwanted, Unequal and Unsafe

प्रेरणा बालक/बालिका विद्यालय, स्टडी हाॅल स्कूल, व सेन्टर फाॅर लर्निंग के 400 विद्यार्थियों द्वारा, भारत की बेटियांः अनचाही, असमान और असुरक्षित विषय पर जागरूक्ता रैली निकाली, रैली स्टडी हाल स्कूल से निकल कर पटेलपुरम, मलेशा मऊ, खरगापुर, से होते हुए मकदूमपुर, गोमतीनगर पर समाप्त की गई। जिसमें लगभग 4000 लोगों तक बाल विवाह, छेड़छाड़ और लड़कियों के खिलाफ हो रही हिंसा को रोकने के लिए संदेश पहुंचाया गया। विद्यार्थियों ने नुकड नाटक किया, नारे लगाये व बाल विवाह कानून के बारे में लोगों को बता कर समुदाय के लोगों को जागरूक किया और उन्हे शपथ दिलाया कि वो अपने बच्चों का विवाह सही समय पर और उनकी इच्छा के अनुसार करेंगे और बच्चों की पढ़ाई में कोई बाधा नही आने देंगे।

स्टडी हाॅल ऐजुकेशनल फाउन्डेशन द्वारा पिछले 6 वर्षों से इन्डियाज़ डाटर कैम्पेन नाम से लड़कियों और औरतों के खिलाफ हो रही हिंसा के विरूद्व जागरूक्ता अभियान चालाया जा रहा है। प्रत्येक वर्ष की तरह इस वर्ष भी इन्डियाज़ डाटर कैम्पेन के अन्र्तगत भारत की बेटीयां, अनचाही, समानय, असुरक्षित मुद्दे पर पूरे उत्तर प्रदेश में जागरूक्ता अभियान चलाया जा रहा है। आज दिनांक 28/04/2018 को लखनऊ के चार क्षेत्रों में पटेलपुरम, मलेशा मऊ, खरगापुर, और मकदूमपुर, में जागरूक्ता रैली निकाली गई, जिसमें प्रेरणा बालक/बालिका विद्यालय, स्टडी हाॅल स्कूल, व सेन्टर फाॅर लर्निंग के 400 विद्यार्थियों ने प्रतिभाग किया। जिसमें विद्यार्थियों ने नाटक के द्वारा लोगों को जागरूक करने का प्रयास किया, नाटक देखने के बाद समुदाय की कई महिलाओं ने कहा कि उनका विवाह 14, 15 वर्ष की उम्र में ही हो गया था लेकिन अब वो अपनी बेटियों के साथ ऐसा नही होने देंगी। मकदूमपुर से असलम जी ने कहा कि लड़कियों के साथ हो रही हिंसा को रोकने के लिए पूरे समाज को साथ आना होगा, मेरी बहन का बाल विवाह हुआ था लेकिन अब मैं अपनी बच्चियों का बाल विवाह नही होने दूंगा। कुछ पुरूषों ने कहा कि समाज में लड़कियां सुरक्षित नही हैं इस लिए माॅ बाप उनकी शादी जल्दी कर देते हैं ताकि लड़की अपने घर की हो जाये। बच्चियों ने समुदाय को बाल विवाह कानून के बारे में बताते हुए समाज़ को लड़कियों के प्रति संवदेनशील होने व लड़कियों को भी एक नागरिक के रूप में स्वीकार करने की अपील की, साथ ही यह भी कहा कि बच्चियों का बाल विवाह करने या सुरक्षा के ड़र से पढ़ाई छुडा कर घर में बिठाने के बजाये लड़कों को शिक्षित व जागरूक करें ताकि लड़कियां अपनी जिन्दगी को खुल कर जी सकें।

Study Hall Educational Foundation – NPTT Convocation

‘Don’t think of teaching as a part-time profession’

Lucknow: The third convocation ceremony of the Nursery and Primary Teacher’s Training (NPTT) Programme of the Study Hall Educational Foundation was held at the Study Hall Prep School here on Thursday. The event started with a welcome speech by the director of the training program Priya Kakkar said that it has been a very enlightening journey for journey for her and the trainees.Dr. Urvashi Sahni, the founder and CEO of the Study Hall Educational Foundation said, “The graduating teachers should continue to learn to sustain good teaching practices. Don’t think of teaching as a part-time profession. It shapes leaders as most of the personality is shaped by the age of 7″.A total of 13 teachers graduated on the occasion out of three have already got jobs in reputed schools of the city. Glimpses of the training program were shared with the guests. Shashi Prabha Acharya the principal of Study Hall Prep School said that the toolbox of the trained teachers is ready and now they should go out and express themselves.Those who have got placements already include Archana Verma, Fatima and Parveen. The graduating trainees also shared their experience and said that teaching and learning have to keep happening simultaneously. “The last year has been one of the most memorable years of my life. It’s almost like a new beginning and I very happy and sad at the same time to be graduating from NPTT. I would like to thank all my teachers for their guidance”, said one of the graduating trainees.